Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Home!

We've just returned from a vacation in the UK visiting Peter's parents in England and then taking a road trip with them through Scotland. It was a wonderful change of pace and we really enjoyed spending time together. The countryside was idyllic, the Scottish Highlands were breath-taking, Edinburgh was stately, and, believe it or not, the weather was great!

Photos are coming. In the meantime, here are some observations:

Window Screens - None of the placed we stayed had screens on the windows. Apparently bugs aren't really a problem. No wonder the English claim to love nature more than Americans!

Babychange - Frequently places with bathrooms offered a "babychange" area, a room just for changing diapers. It was terrific because moms or dads (or both) could use it. Much better than the pull down changing tables often located in the Women's restrooms in the States. Yes, get those dads changing diapers! (Although perhaps I should just be grateful there is any facility at all to change a kid.)

Playgrounds - The playgrounds rock in the UK! They have all kinds of equipment considered "unsafe" here in the States. Merry-go-rounds, cool climbing frames, little seats that spin around really fast. Des isn't old enough to take advantage of much of it, but I was green with envy.

Sheep - The stereotype fits. There were sheep everywhere.

Driving - It should be straightforward to adjust to crossing streets knowing cars drive on the left side of the road. Somehow, it turned my brain to goo. I found myself standing at intersections looking back and forth five million times before crossing. I felt like a dog with my head wagging so much.

Kettles - I can't overstate the important of kettles in UK life. It still takes me by surprise when I visit. All of our hotel rooms had a kettle. None had a microwave. Few had a radio or clock.

4 for 1 - I've talked about it with people a lot and I still can't get my head around England, Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland being countries in a Kingdom. It feels like a semantic difference from our equivilent of states in the US. We don't have diplomatic relations with Scotland. Wales doesn't have their own Olympic team. The best I can tell, the only way they interact with the world as separate countries is the World Cup. I suppose some would see soccer loyalties as sufficient country divisions.